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Which receiver/preamp to buy if I'm running all separate amps?


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30 replies to this topic

#1 of 31 KyleT

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Posted August 01 2003 - 07:03 AM

Right now I have a Rotel RB-1090 running a pair of Polk LSi-15s, I plan on buying another rotel amp to power the center and rear speakers.

So what I've come down to is the fact that I need a receiver or preamp and while sound quality and reliability are priorities, power output doesn't matter at all since the receiver won't be powering the speakers except through preamp outputs.

I don't mind spending a decent amount of money, but I want to make sure that my money goes to good use. In other words if there's a 600 dollar receiver that sounds 96% as good as a 1500 dollar receiver, I'll take the 600 dollar receiver.

I'll be using this for both music and movies, and honestly having the latest greatest 6.1, 7.1, etc sound format doesn't really matter to me as much as just having clean clear sound with good imaging.

#2 of 31 Frances_H

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Posted August 01 2003 - 07:52 AM

Kyle,
if it is within your budget, take a look at B&K Reference 50 and Rotel RSP-1098. I have LSi15 paired with B&K Reference50 and B&K AV125.7 for HT and music. They mate very well...

#3 of 31 Nick V

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Posted August 01 2003 - 08:15 AM

The best values for the money have to be the Outlaw 950 and the Rotel RSP-1066. I haven't heard the Outlaw, but I have heard the supposedly upgraded Outlaw, the Sherbourn PT-7000 and I prefer the sound of the Rotel.

In my opinion, these are all sonically superior to all but the most expensive receivers (flagships) on the market.

Go give them a listen, and see if you agree.

#4 of 31 DanaA

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Posted August 01 2003 - 09:34 AM

if there's a 600 dollar receiver that sounds 96% as good as a 1500 dollar receiver, I'll take the 600 dollar receiver.



Agree with what Nick had to say.

From your initial post, I'd recommend the Outlaw, although I'm a Rotel owner, because it is probably as good bang for the buck in a pre-pro as you're going to get given your criteria. Personally, I already love the sound and looks of my 1066, so it was worth the extra bucks for me. Outlaw owners, for the most part, are extremely pleased with their 950's as well.

Both companies appear to provide exemplary customer care.

#5 of 31 Ted Pugh

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Posted August 01 2003 - 03:00 PM

I disagree with Nick and Dana. I feel what they are saying is very subjective and opionated. I don't feel you will get better sound from the Outlaw then you would get with a $1000 receiver plus the 1k receiver will be a lot more flexible when it comes to hook ups, etc. Just like it would not seem possible but I have a Denon 4802 that I am using as a pre/pro with a B&K 200.5 amp and there is no doubt in my mind it sounds better than the Outlaw or the Rotel. (Everything is opionated) Now if you want a difference in the sound check out Lexicon, Meridian, ML etc. Then you will hear a difference. Just my .02 worth. Basically you will not be able to hear a difference or not much of a difference with 1k receivers or mid to low level seperates. Hope this helps.

Ted

#6 of 31 DanaA

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Posted August 01 2003 - 03:18 PM

I thought Kyle was asking for opinions.Posted Image

#7 of 31 Nick V

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Posted August 01 2003 - 06:45 PM

LOL!!
Quote:
In my opinion, these are all sonically superior to all but the most expensive receivers (flagships) on the market.


Easy bud. What part of IN MY OPINION didn't you understand?

BTW, in the past 2 months I've done exhaustive research/listening to many pre/pro's and receivers to upgrade my current system, and I found both the Sherbourn and the Rotel to be FAR superior to the Denon 3803, Marantz 8200, and my own Yamaha RXV-1200. These 4 products were tested in my room, with a borrowed Rotel RMB-1095.

I also demo'd a large number of other receivers and processors, but these were all done at the store, so I won't comment on how they sounded relative to the others.

Another product that sounded FANTASTIC was the Audio Refinement Pre2. The major drawback is that it's only 5.1, but according to my local dealer, they will be releasing an upgrade to 7.1 in the near future. I'm waiting for this to be available before I make my final purchasing decision.

#8 of 31 DanaA

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Posted August 01 2003 - 07:26 PM

Easy Nick, we don't want to sound "opionated". Posted Image

#9 of 31 Tom-K

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Posted August 11 2003 - 06:23 AM

Might want to weight another month and take a look at the New product comming from Sherwood Newcastle. They're previous pre/pro was highly recommended. It has an MSRP of $1,500 but would guess it will be able to be purchased for less. Just my thoughts.

#10 of 31 gregD

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:02 AM

Even more opinions...

I think keeping your gear all in the Rotel family will yield very pleasing bang-for-the-buck results in movies and especially music (pending your careful auditioning, of course).

RSP-1066... pre-pro, US$1500... add darn near any 3- or 5-channel amp (get used) for center / rears.

RSX-1055... receiver, US$1300, 75W x 5... configurable for a 6.1/7.1 setup.

RSX-1065... receiver, US$1800(?), 100W x 5... not configurable.

The above models might be found with attractive reduced pricing, as Rotel's new $3k RSP-1098 pre-pro is drawing some trade-in activity... even at new pricing, they're worth a look / listen.

#11 of 31 Geo

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Posted August 11 2003 - 07:57 AM

My two suggestions are receivers and based on the price these two excellent performers can be had for:
w/free shipping

Denon AVR-3803 - $649
Excellent surround processing and clean sounding pure direct mode for 2 channel. A really feature packed unit with one attribute not found on any of the above units or units costing much more.... "Component Video Upconversion"
once you've had this feature hard to go back

Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX - $499
It's claim to fame besides excellent sonic performance, build quality and features galore,
"MCACC/Acoustic Equalization"

Granted these units are available for these prices factory refurbished, but at these prices and level of performance, no brainers as far as I'm concerned.

just my 2 cents
geo

#12 of 31 DaveLenhert

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Posted August 11 2003 - 08:40 AM

I'll have to agree with the opinionated Posted Image Nick & Dana. I utilized a Denon 3801 as a receiver for quite some time, but was never really happy with the CD performance. I then utilized an outboard amp(Parasound HCA-1205A) with the Denon, but it only had very minor changes/improvements in the sonic quality. I was starting to think i had waisted my $$$ on the amp. THEN, a nice little Acurus ACT-3 pre/pro fell into my lap for less then $600 (brand new with full warranty). Once installed, the sonic performance of the DACs were vastly superior to that of the Denon's. One trip back to Mondial Designs (Acurus/Aragon) for an upgrade to the Stage One DACs and repair, the unit performance has been flawless. The change in performance and sonic quality convinced me instantly that you go with separates, granted i was going from a $1000 reciver to a (if bought new)$2000 pre/pro. IMHO, if you only have $1000 for a pre/pro receiver or a separate pre/pro, get the separate pre/pro! (Also, who uses all of those WACKO Posted Image surround modes...total waste of $$, if you are not into that kind of thing)

The recommendations of the Outlaw 950 and Rotel 1066 are good choices of entry level Pre/pros. A step or two above that I like the Aragon Stage One, Anthem AVM-20, and B&K Ref 50.

Best of luck....
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#13 of 31 chung_sotheby

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Posted August 11 2003 - 09:17 AM

I would quantify it as this(remember, this is JMHO):

I think that if you are going to spend above $800-1500(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

1.Rotel 1055
2.Nad T762
3.Outlaw 950
4.Rotel 1066
5.Pioneer 55TXi
6.Marantz 8300
7.Denon 3803

I think that if you are going to spend below $800(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

1.HK 525
2.Nad 752
3.Pioneer 45 TX
4.Marantz 7300
5.Denon 2803

Mind you, I think that any time you go up in price in HT and AV gear, the price/performance ratio goes down, so the best thing to do is to try to set a spending limit and get the component which you feel is the best at the price point, and the way that you can decide which is the best is to demo as many as possible. Good luck!

#14 of 31 Scottie Mow

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Posted August 12 2003 - 04:48 AM

Kyle,
you can even save a few bucks and look at a cheaper receiver still (I believe all of these receivers have preouts). Here's a couple of the cheaper ones:

Yamaha RXV-630 (or 640 or HTR-5660)
Pioneer VSX-D712K
Marantz SR-4300

If you are able to do some direct comparisons with more expensive models, let me know how you make out. I was looking at doing some similar tests in the near future.

good luck
Scott

#15 of 31 Mark Russ

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Posted August 12 2003 - 06:52 AM

chung_sotheby
I would quantify it as this(remember, this is JMHO):

I think that if you are going to spend above $800-1500(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

1.Rotel 1055
2.Nad T762
3.Outlaw 950
4.Rotel 1066
5.Pioneer 55TXi
6.Marantz 8300
7.Denon 3803

I think that if you are going to spend below $800(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

1.HK 525
2.Nad 752
3.Pioneer 45 TX
4.Marantz 7300
5.Denon 2803





Chang, you really think the 3803 would be only 7th best in that price range solely as a pre/pro? Admittedly, as a receiver, the amp section probably isn't as good as say the Rotel, HK, NAD and maybe even the Pioneer Elite and Marantz too (although the Denon isn't exactly a half bad sloutch in that department either), but comparing only the pre/pro sections of them? To me, on paper anyway (as I still haven't heard it yet, although I have heard the 3802), it looks like it night be the one to beat in that price range. Very, very close to the pre/pro section of the 5803. Matter of fact, I dare say that a 3803 with an external amp/amps would probably best the 5803.

#16 of 31 Craig_Kg

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Posted August 12 2003 - 12:37 PM

Is multichannel music a priority?
If not, I'd use a $600 receiver like the Sony STR-DA4ES, Pioneer 43TX, Denon 3803 etc (or even cheaper with preouts), for HT and a good stereo preamp (say $400) in between the receiver and 1090 for two channel sources (the receiver front preouts just become another source). The 2 channel performance of this setup will be comfortably above most (even premium) AV prepros/receivers while movie performance will still be good IMO. YMMV.
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#17 of 31 Tom Grooms

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Posted August 13 2003 - 04:36 AM

Craig_Kg, I agree! Thats where you find max bang for your buck

#18 of 31 John Royster

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Posted August 13 2003 - 04:43 AM

If it helps I was sorely disappointed in the analog and digital pre-amp section of the 3802 and 3803. Simply atrocious really. It managed to zap the life out of anything run through it.

IMHO there are significant differences between receivers as pre-amps and dedicated pre-amps. So I'd suggest staying away from using a receiver as a pre-amp. You aren't really usins separates if you do and have to put up with the compromises of a receiver.

#19 of 31 Geo

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Posted August 13 2003 - 06:03 AM

Quote:
If it helps I was sorely disappointed in the analog and digital pre-amp section of the 3802 and 3803. Simply atrocious really. It managed to zap the life out of anything run through it.

Competely not my experience.
I've found mid-range receivers used as a pre/pro are every bit as good sounding as a mid-range dedicated pre/pro.
And the receiver will probably have more features.
My ears, your ears may vary.......

Regards,

geo

#20 of 31 Craig_Kg

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Posted August 13 2003 - 01:28 PM

That's why Tom Grooms & I like to mate a cheaper receiver with a proper stereo preamp.
IF you REALLY like multichannel music, then you need to dig up a Sony TAP-9000ES.
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